I've seen 人 used as a character in multiple names.

李劼人 is an example of a fairly well known person with the character 人 in his name.

It seems slightly jarring that 人 - person would be a feature of a name, I'm guessing there is more to it - but I've not been able to find a convincing answer online yet.

Any ideas?

  • 1
    It seems slightly jarring really? There's a few Western names which end in things like -man, although I can only think of last names at the moment.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 16:29
  • @droooze Herman and Sherman spring to mind...
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 20:51
  • 1
    I agree to Tang ho's answer. It's not an uncommon thing at all. It's pretty natural to my ear actually.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


Having 人 in the name is not uncommon, especially the first character of the first name

"人 (X) " = 人中之(X) " = (X) among man


苗人鳳 - phoenix among man

狄人傑 - elite among man

張人龍 - dragon among man

蒒人貴 - noble among man

聶人王 - king among man

It is less common to have 人 in the second character of a first name, because 人 is pronounced the same as '仁', which is a far more popular second character in first name

Many people might not want their child to have to correct people all the time by telling them it is '人' not '仁' in his name

But it is not unreasonable to use 人 as the second character of a first name

(X)人 = (X)之人 = 'a man who (X)'


張學人 - a man who learns

陳正人 - a man who is just

陸敬人 - a man who is respectful

Of course, 張學人, 陳正人 and 陸敬人 might have to tell people all the time that their names are not 張學仁, 陳正仁 and 陸敬仁 (all legitimate names)

  • A few more examples for your second case: 周树人 (or known as 鲁迅, a famous writer), 孙立人 (a famous Nationalist general). Their names are probably interpreted as 树立人 - a man who helps establishing people. And they did.
    – WDC
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 0:13
  • @WDC I would interpret 树人 as 有建树之人 ( a man who contributes) and 立人 as 立品之人 or 立身端正之人 (a man who is up standing)
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 1:59
  • @TangHo It doesn't make sense to change one's own name to mean 有建树之人. On the other hand 树立人 is a quite plausible ideal that a person like him could have.
    – user23013
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 15:49

It is not that strange since English names also contain jobs (Smith) that are not used in names of Chinese.

A name is only a tag to mark a specific person. As long as the community accept it, it can use any possible combinations. For example, my parents gave me the name of a Chinese emperor.

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